Greece has a countless amount of ruins to visit and learn about. However, there are some discoveries that have occurred in the last decade that have forever changed history as we know it today.
Here’s a look at the 10 most important archaeological finds in Greece of the last ten years.
1. Ancient Minoan Tomb, Crete – 2018
A farmer discovered a rare tombstone from late Minoan III period on Crete in August, 2018.
A farmer in Kentri Ierapetra on Crete attempted to park his vehicle in the shade of an olive tree and by pure chance, the over-irrigated dirt under his vehicle revealed a carved tombstone of the Late Minoan III period.
In the grave, that had not been ransacked, archaeologists discovered two large Larnaka Late Minoan period embossed depictions that are in excellent condition.
In addition, there were two skeletons found in the graves and about 24 vases with colored embossings and depictions.
This tomb is a rare find and archaeologists hope to find new evidence of the Late Minoan period in the area.
2. An Ancient Mall, Argilos – 2013
While archaeologists were further excavating at the site of the ancient city of Argilos in 2013, they stumbled upon its portico, or a group of shops – something like a modern-day mall.
This ancient strip mall had different qualities than those experts have come across in the past, making it a rare find.
Unlike other porticoes discovered from antiquity, this one was made up of different rooms, suggesting that each shop owner constructed his own place of business.
The ancient mall dates back to some 2,500 years ago, making it the oldest portico ever found in northern Greece.
3. Lost Greek City Dating Back 2,500 Years, Vlochos – 2016
Just five hours north of Athens archaeologists discovered a lost ancient Greek city dating back some 2,500 years.
The discovery of ancient ruins on the hillside where the city sits is nothing new to archaeologists, who have dismissed them in the past as nothing more than part of an irrelevant settlement that once existed years ago.
However, researchers from the University of Gothenburg and the University of Bournemouth decided to take a closer look at the ruins in 2016 and discovered a lost ancient city near the village of Vlochos.
So far since they started exploring the site back in September, 2016, the team has uncovered everything from the remains of towers and city walls to ancient pottery and coins that date back as far as 500 BC.
4. 4,000-year-old Pyramid with Plumbing System – 2018
On the Greek island of Keros there is an archaeological site which although everyone was familiar with, had no idea what treasures lay inside.
High up above the Aegean Sea some 4,000 years ago, the residents on Keros carved a cone-shaped piece of the coast line into terraces to resemble a stepped pyramid.
In 2018, researchers looked inside this carved pyramid and were surprised to see that there was a sophisticated system of drainage tunnels dating back a full millennium.
Experts say that the pyramid’s plumbing could have been used to provide fresh water or removed sewage.
5. The Underwater Ruins of Ancient Naval Bases at Piraeus Harbor – 2010
In 2010, a local fisherman guided a group of archaeologists to his favorite fishing spot that he frequented as a child. He used to sit on ancient columns peeking out from the sea in the northern side of Mounichia in Piraeus.
It turned out that the columns were part of the ruins of an ancient naval base dating back as far as 480 BC.
The ruins of the ancient Greek naval bases played a pivotal role in defeating the Persian Empire in the historical Battle of Salamis, and since its initial discovery in 2010, many new discoveries around the ruins have come to light.
Exploration of the partially sunken port have uncovered sunken ship-sheds from underwater excavations undertaken by Zea Harbor Project.
6. Knossos, the Capital of Minoan Civilization Offers More Treasures – 2016
The newest discoveries on Crete at the site of the ancient city of Knossos suggest that the capital of the Minoan Civilization was much more influential and larger than previously thought.
Archaeologists already knew that Knossos was Europe’s oldest city and ruled over the massive trade empire during the Bronze age, however, new evidence suggests that the Minoans may have actually survived into the Iron Age.
Previously thought to have perished around 1200 BC after the volcanic eruption of Thera on Santorini, new artifacts discovered by a team led by a University of Cincinnati assistant professor of classics, Antonis Kotsonas, suggests otherwise.
Nearby burial sites that have recently been excavated revealed that the Minoans were still in the trading business in the region long after 1200 BC and that the actual area of Knossos may have been much bigger than originally thought due to the new discoveries.
7. Significant Finds from Underwater Excavation at Delos – 2017
The remains of ancient coastal structures, a port, a large number of shipwrecks dating back to various eras and significant smaller finds, were found in underwater archaeological excavations conducted by the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities at the island of Delos from May 2 until May 20, 2017.
The discover confirmed to experts that the island of Delos was an important trading base and an important maritime trade route that played a crucial role in linking the east and west Mediterranean in ancient times.
Archaeologists carried out an in-depth investigation of the ancient breakwater that protected the island’s central port in antiquity from the strong northwestern winds, which is now underwater because the sea level has risen by two meters since that time.
Other finds included the remains of walls and a fallen colonnade, the remains of a later Hellenistic era shipwreck carrying amphorae of oil and wine from Italy and the western Mediterranean, as well as another two shipwrecks from the same era off the southern tip of Delos and at Rineia, in Fylladi Bay.
8. Ancient Silver Mine of Lavrio – 2009
Located in the Sounio National Park in a general area called Agrileza (near the village of Agios Konstadinos), the ruins of the mines and workshops of Lavrios Ancient Silver Mines were under excavation until as recently as 2009.
In particular, the Lavrio silver mine was a source of wealth and power to ancient Athens and is interconnected with the rise and fall of the Athenian Empire, from 5th – 4th century BC.
The importance of geology in Greece dates back to the Classical Era when mines filled with silver, gold, iron and other natural ores contributed to the formation of the ancient Greek civilization.
In fact, many of the monuments of Athens (Parthenon, great walls of Athens, statues and majority of the temples) were built with money that was revenue from mines.
9. Marble Slab with Ancient Inscription, Evia – 2018
In August, 2018, a slab of marble with an ancient inscription was discovered hidden under stones along a dirt path.
This priceless piece of history was almost lost forever, as police confiscated it wrapped in a plastic bag, most likely ready to be sold on the black market.
The slab is important and valuable, experts say. It is believed that a rendering of the text could provide important information about life in ancient Greece.
The piece of marble is 50 x 22 cm and has an ancient Greek inscription carved into it, along with a decoration of Acanthous, which is from the Hellenistic or early Roman era.
10. Ancient Cave Art Dating back to the ice Age, Crete – 2018
In the Asphendou cave in Crete — known for its petroglyphs — archaeologists discovered what is believed to be the earliest Greek art, dating back to the last Ice Age.
The artworks, 37 deer engravings about 5 centimeters long, portray an extinct animal known as the dwarf deer, Candiacervus ropalophorus.
The Candiacervus ropalophorus became extinct more than 11,000 years ago.
They once roamed not far from the Asphendou in caves on the north coast of Crete about 11,000 years ago, according to specimens found by scientists.